Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.
Fishing Season Closure
KFLS Radio, March 26th, by Senator Doug Whitsett, Oregon District 28
Government agencies are poised to close 700 miles of the Pacific Coast to commercial salmon fishing and spurred on by the hysterical misinformation of certain so called environmental advocates many media outlets cannot wait to blame the Upper Klamath Basin irrigators.
Both the frenzied propaganda and the news reports ignore certain facts:
The water being required to enhance Klamath River stream flow is water stored for irrigation. The right to use that water to irrigate is owned by Upper Klamath Basin irrigators. No additional water can be made available without reallocation of that irrigation water.
The Bureau of Reclamation’s Undepleted Naturalized Flow Study compares what Klamath River flows would have been without agricultural development in the Upper Klamath Basin to what the flows have historically been during the past 50 years. The report clearly demonstrates that all the irrigation practices in the Upper Klamath Basin reduce the Klamath River flow at Keno by no more than 3%.
During the past five years the Klamath Project irrigators’ water bank has increased the down river flow each year. During last year and for this coming year those increased annual flows will amount to at least 100,000 acre feet.
The projected inadequate salmon runs are a government contrived regulatory crisis. A calamity can only be manufactured by alleging that hatchery fish are somehow different than natural fish. No genetic or visible difference exists between natural and hatchery fish other than the man made markings on the hatchery fish. This travesty continues in defiance of a court order prohibiting such regulatory slight of hand.
Dr. William Lewis, chair of the National Research Council committee on Endangered and Threatened Fishes in the Klamath River Basin stated that the fish die-off could not be explained by either a unique low flow or high water temperature. He said that the California Department of Fish and Game conclusions were dubious, that the cause of the fish die off was not known, and that another cause other than flow and temperature should be determined.
In fact, if temperature were the problem, increased cold water flow from the Trinity River would certainly make a better sense solution than increased flow from the naturally occurring shallow warm waters of the Upper Klamath River Basin.
This problem could be easily solved if we could only spend a fraction of the money currently being wasted on studies, regulations, and futile restoration efforts on construction of deep, cold water, off stream storage such as the Long Lake Project or the Boundary Reservoir. This solution would actually address the cause of the problem, and would have the additional benefit of putting one entire dysfunctional regulatory industry out of work.
Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:14 AM Pacific
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